The First Casualty Of War (Flowers Sent to the Wake)

I received a nice e-mail from a Spc. Flowers at Centcom the other day requesting I link to their website. Now I don’t know if it was spam or an e-mail sent after an actual review of my blog. In any event, I googled Flowers and it turns out that he is part of a military program designed to address blogs critical of the military and to feed good news to others.

McNorton, Gehlen and Flowers seem to think there’s enough good news. In fact, they spend their days feeding stories of good news from Iraq and Afghanistan to military blogs such as MilTracker, formerly known as Camp Katrina, a site dedicated to telling the “good news about the U.S. military.”

The team also ask bloggers to link back to the CENTCOM web site, and when they run across incorrect or incomplete information in a blog entry, they provide a correction or more information. “We don’t go in there and get into a debate,” said McNorton. And they don’t go in to police the content of blogs. But they do report OPSEC (operational security) violations.

So here’s my question to Spc. Flowers … why does the military lie to us over and over again?

We heard the bogus leak that Zawahiri was killed in the Pakistani airstrike that actually killed numerous civilians including women and children (reminding me also of the premature reports of the death of Chemical Ali) and we heard the laughably low number of deaths being spun by General Casey in the days after the bombing of the Golden Mosque (lower even than the spin coming from Al Jafari who necessarily had to spin to protect his benefactor, the despicable Muqtada Al Sadr).

But today two fresh stories of the military’s propensity to lie are making the rounds.

The New York Times has the latest on the military’s lies and cover-up regarding the death of Pat Tillman. It’s an odious tale that deserves a full reading. Here’s the money quote from Tillman’s grief ridden father:

All I asked for is what happened to my son, and it has been lie after lie after lie.

Then there’s the latest uncovered lie which involves the possible slaughter of 15 unarmed Iraqis on November 19, 2005. The military initially reported the deaths as being the result of an insurgent’s bomb. Yet, this view was contradicted by eyewitness accounts that the dead were, in fact, killed by American gunfire. These accounts were followed up by Time magazine and there are reports of a video of the aftermath. Only now – when confronted by a mountain of evidence – does the military change its story. The initial account was wrong and, the military now claims, the deaths were the result of American gunfire but as “collateral damage” and not intentionally so.

But the MO always remains the same — lie first then only give up portions of the truth once you are forced to concede. More damaging in both situations is that the initial lies only serves to undercut the second story and fuel speculation that something worse actually took place.

It’s sad and disappointing that as American citizens we have to wonder when, if ever, the military can be believed.

So Spc. Flowers, if you are truly interested in ending disinformation, might I suggest you spend less time fretting about lil liberal blogs and more time preventing the lies being spewed from the mouths of your bosses.

But then again, we all know Flowers can’t do that.

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